Microsoft Preps Fall Launch of Windows, Xbox 360 Games and Peripherals

At Games Convention (GC) 2006 in Leipzig, Germany, this week, Microsoft unveiled several new games and peripherals for both Windows XP and Xbox 360 gamers. The company also talked up some interesting developments for gamers who are interested in Windows Vista.

Microsoft revealed that two next-generation soccer titles, Electronic Arts' (EA's) "FIFA 07" and Konami's "Pro Evolution Soccer 6," are coming exclusively to Xbox 360 later this year. Microsoft also announced three Xbox Live Arcade board games that will ship this year: "Settlers of Catan," "Carcassonne," and "Alhambra."

On the hardware side, Xbox 360 users can look forward to several new peripherals. On September 19, Microsoft will ship the Xbox Live Vision camera for just $39.99, as well as a Gold Kit version that includes the camera, 12 months of Xbox Live Gold access, three full-version Xbox Live Arcade game titles, and 200 Microsoft Points, for $79.99. The company will ship the Xbox 360 Wireless Racing Wheel in November for $149.99. The Xbox 360 Wireless Headset is also due in November, for $59.99. And three new special-edition Xbox 360 console faceplates, based on images from such well-known games as Halo, Viva PiƱata, and Forza Motosport, will ship in November for $19.99 each.

For Windows-based gamers, Microsoft announced a number of upcoming Vista-compatible games, including "LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy" and "Zoo Tycoon 2: Marine Mania." The company also showed off a demonstration of the Vista-exclusive title, "Flight Simulator X," which is based on next-generation DirectX 10 technologies.

Microsoft announced a partnership with Razer USA to release a new Microsoft Habu gaming mouse that combines high-tech design with the speedy response time that gamers expect. The Habu features an advanced 2000dpi laser sensor and seven programmable buttons. It will ship in October for $69.95. Microsoft also announced that it's bringing its wired IntelliMouse Explorer 3.0 back to the market due to popular demand. (Coincidentally, I just bought this mouse on eBay because I found the company's newer mouse models unsatisfactory.) The IntelliMouse Explorer 3.0 will be back on the market in October for $39.95.

Microsoft is also bringing the wireless Xbox 360 game controller to Windows gamers courtesy of a $19.99 Xbox 360 Wireless Gaming Receiver for Windows. This device plugs into a USB 2.0 port on your PC and lets you use any Xbox 360 wireless accessories in XP.

TAGS: Windows 8
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